How do I choose the right IT Support Provider?
What to ask your IT Support company in Doncaster and South Yorkshire
It’s a reasonable thing to ponder. After all, you’ll end up entrusting your whole IT Network, potentially comprising servers, workstations, data storage devices, switches, backup, security measures, to a single firm. Such a big decision merits the posing of some serious questions. We’ve canvassed a few of our clients and distilled their many answers into a list of the common ones;
1) How quick are you to respond?
One of the most common reasons we hear when talking to a potential client, and when we ask why they are unhappy with their current provider, is that they are “too slow to respond”, “they don’t seem to care”, “they never get back to us”. All our Support Contracts include SLAs (Service Level Agreements) which include measurable, robustly defined response times. It’s not enough for a company to say “as soon as possible” and a far better way of expressing this is to say “First Response to call within 4 hours”, or whatever the agreed timeframe is. For our part, we’re very proud to say that our first responses occur usually within a few minutes, if only to advise that we have received the ticket and to ask some additional questions. From that point forward, you can track the progress of your job, in total transparency and from start to finish, via our online ticketing portal.
2) Is my information safe with you?
In these modern times of ransomware, hacking, phishing scams and the like, it’s another entirely valid concern. We are proud to say that we hold the ISO27001 Security Accreditation meaning that we observe, and proactively monitor, all aspects of security from the physical building (that we own), to the data access protocols we enforce. ISO27001 is the Gold Standard in security. Insist on it.
3) What sort of Insurance do you have to protect us?
You need to know that your provider has these bases covered! In the unlikely event that things did go wrong, you can rest assured that we have Professional Indemnity Insurance up to the value of £1,000,000 and Public Liability Insurance up to the value of £25,000,000.
4) How do we contact you?
It’s important to be able to easily and quickly get in touch with your chosen IT Support Provider. We have multiple methods, although all methods lead to our central ticketing system so that an accurate journal of your job can be created and then maintained. This allows for end-to-end support to be seamlessly delivered. Our engineers have a special app on their smartphones, too, so that tickets can be updated from wherever they are. In short, you can;
a) Call us between 8.30am and 5.00pm
b) Email firstname.lastname@example.org or to automatically create a ticket, email email@example.com
c) On a 24/7 basis you can visit our website and create a support ticket directly
5) Are you a One-Stop-Shop? Can we use you for all our IT needs?
In the past, there have been cases where one third-party vendor blames another, with the most important part of the loop situation, the client, stuck in the middle not knowing where to turn. Given this, and the infamy such a situation now endures, we do get asked this question quite a lot. Whilst no company will ever offer absolutely everything you might need, here at Nemark we do cover most of the bases;
a) Traditional Client / Server Networking
b) Cloud Solutions (Office 365, Hosted Desktop, Dropbox, Sharepoint etc)
d) Skype For Business
e) Website Development and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
f) Lots more!
Of course, there will always be something not within our portfolio. Most commonly this would be industry-specific software or hardware requiring third-party support. In such cases though, you can be reassured when say that we have years of experiencing in Project Management and Liaison, meaning that you will never be caught between the rock and the hard place that so many SME businesses find themselves in.
6) Do you deal with other firms in our Market Sector?
You might have a concern that a prospective IT Supplier may not be conversant with the business challenges you face or even, if they have dealt with some of your current issues before. Of course, this is of course a two-edged sword, since you may have a natural fear of information being leaked from one firm to another. Nemark have clients operating in a huge number of different industries and so it’s likely we’ll be able to provide a testimonial from one in your sector or at least, a closely related industry. To address the concern, and pursuant to our ISO27001 status, we never disclose (unless by a client’s express consent), any confidential information to any other party, be it another supplier we’re working with, or a firm operating within your market.
7) What experience do you have?
Just as your new IT Support Provider will naturally want to know about your business needs you, too, have every right to acertain whether or not they can meet them! Is their engineering team comprised mainly of school leavers and trainees, or can they provide the holistic approach that is only possible via an experienced, seasoned team? All our engineers have a minimum 2 years experience in the field, and many are reaching the 20 year mark. Coupled with our constant drive to assess and adopt (where feasible and practicable) new technologies and skills, our team is perfectly positioned to assist with whatever current and future challenges you might throw at us!
8) Will you try to sell us things we don’t need?
Another very common question, with the outgoing supplier having been ousted, in part, because they kept trying to shoe-horn the client into whatever product set was in vogue that week! Consider yourself, quite rightly, as the number one priority with the IT Vendor’s sales targets totally irrelevant to you. At Nemark we are proud to be totally independent of any vendor so for example, if you have a Sophos Anti-Virus solution, we won’t try to move you to another one as we can support Sophos too! Granted, in our experience some products are generally better than others but this will be explained in a no-hard-sell kind of way. Equally, we’re in it for the long haul and so will never try to sell something for the sake of it – that would be a very short-sighted approach and as trust has to be the very cornerstone of our offering, it is one we’ll never take.
9) Can you provide us with references?
Another very common question. If the prospective provider is unable or unwilling to do this, you should probably ask yourself why! Insist on a minimum of 2-3 references and rather than just ask for them, call or email them to hear directly! Air your concerns and see how the provider behaved with the firm you’ve been referred to.
10) Can we afford your fees?
Granted, this is more an internal question, but it’s not one that can be answered until you know the costs. Be wary of firms that try to cloud the issue here. Costs should not only be reasonable but also clearly understandable, scalable and the delivery terms (what is covered / not covered) absolutely crystal. It’s easy to get caught up in costs and err towards to the cheapest but cheap does not always equate to best value for money. Paying 10% less for a sole-trader IT Provider will almost certainly work out badly as compared to using one with a team of battle-tested engineers at their disposal. That said, we do believe that Nemark’s pricing is among the lowest in the UK and certainly is the best value for money, by a very long country mile!
If this article has piqued your interest, please feel free to call on 01302 540280 or hit the Contact Us page to find out more about our IT support services in Doncaster & South Yorkshire.